Surfing the television the other night, I came across a quite entertaining program — one of those behind-the-scenes pieces on the making of a current hit movie. I snuggled in my oversized chair and listened as cast and crew glowed about the setting, the camaraderie, and the overwhelming feeling of family that pervaded the movie set for those two years.
Envy tinted with wanderlust began to fill my mind. After it was over, I found myself thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great to escape the drudgery of my every day, boring office job and go off with wildly artistic people to exotic locations and be a part of something big and exciting and creative – like making a movie?”
I was eventually knocked back into reality through a number of obnoxious commercials, and came to the realization that my exotic movie set was right there before me. Retirement.
Retirement. A word that used to make me shiver. A word that was meant for antique men and women. Not me. It used to mean that point in one’s life where you’d get your 50-year watch and sit and be able to watch TV all day. And it began somewhere around 80 years of age.
But now that word pops up more and more around me, and it is said with so much excitement and anticipation that I’m actually beginning to look forward with it. People don’t wait until they can’t walk or run anymore. They don’t wait until they have enough money or pay off their house. People are retiring at an earlier age, and when they do they don’t stop running.
As I dreamt about life as an actress or a jet-setting hotel heiress, it became obvious that we are all a result of our choices. My choices took me along the path of family, children, a place to call home. I didn’t pick a career that had a great retirement package. I didn’t keep up with my bills like I should have. I’ve had a few bouts of illnesses that set better women than me backwards.
I’d like to think I paid my dues.
When it comes close to retirement, there are often flashes of uselessness or overstaying one’s welcome. I came to understand that we all hear the call of destiny, but it’s up to us what we do with that calling. And now heading towards that next milestone, I can see a wide world open ahead of me. Not having to punch a time clock will open doors I could never get to earlier in my life.
I have talked to a number of already-retired gals and guys, and they all tell me the same thing – they love it. They have never been so busy, so satisfied. And so anxious to do more – or less, depending on the day.
Retirement is a sort of magic, a whirlwind of the past and the present, the switching of life’s gears, so to speak. It is a tugging of our soul, realizing we will finally get the chance to wander and explore the world in its own way. You know ― living the “stepping out of the box” cliché way of life.
This sort of magic is an empowerment that breaks us from the monotony of routine and propels us into the world of creativity. We might not have the money to travel to Italy or Mexico, but we have the power to cook like them, dress like them, visit their museums through the Internet.
We also have more time to volunteer. Whether a noble cause or your grandchildren, we have more time to develop relationships and beliefs. We can have coffee with friends or go to lunch with other entrepreneurs who find creative outlets for their life’s experiences.
As I turned off the television, there was still a part of me that wished I had been a part of making that movie: the friendship, the excitement. But I realized I have all the above with me every day. I have music and books and my own imagination to take me wherever I want to go. I have a grandson that will keep me on my toes and a sofa to fall onto when I’m not in the mood to move.
Retirement is merely a threshold ― let’s not be afraid to cross it. We’ve got nothing to lose except our inhibitions. And who needs those, anyway? I’m looking forward to those “golden” days. But I better buy a new pair of gym shoes pretty soon.
Got a lot of runnin’ to do!